Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Logan's Run. Is there anything more pathetic than an outdated vision of the future? Yes, there is -- an outdated vision of the future starring Michael York, Farrah Fawcett-Majors, and several dozen cats. Oh, and Peter Ustinov.

This was bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Mystery Science Theater 3000 bad. The story wasn't bad, as sci-fi scenarios go, and the special effects, though a bit cheesy, were state of the art for 1976. I blame a piss poor job of directing by Michael Anderson. Who? Exactly.

But let's start with the acting. In the little production featurette on the DVD, prissy leading man Michael York extols the abilities of co-star Richard Jordan (who?), calling him -- I kid you not -- "almost Brando-esque." Apparently, he's referring to ice cream truck driver Virgil Brando of Duluth, Minnesota. In fairness, Richard Jordan (who??) did have a few traits in common with the great Marlon Brando. They both walked on two legs, inhaled oxygen and exhaled carbon dioxide. Their names have the same number of syllables and share some common letters. And...well, that's about it.

Poor Michael York. It's not his fault that, a year or so after this movie, Harrison Ford would come along in Star Wars and wink his twinkling eyes and crack his lame one-liners and re-define modern movie stardom as a series of ironic poses. So, here's poor, poor Michael York, gamely pointing a plastic laser gun at some guy in a red unitard with all the intended gravity of Olivier playing Richard II. Poor, poor, poor Michael York. He deserved so much better than to come off looking like Val Kilmer's queeny old British uncle.

So here he is, an elite police officer in the year 2525, uh, 22-something-something, living the good life, chasing down dirty stinking long-haired malcontents, teleporting scantily-clad babes straight to his swingin' bachelor pad (which apparently hadn't been redecorated since 1974, including the conversation pit). The futuristic society he lives in believes that the first and only rule of government is "Live Fast, Die Young, Leave A Beautiful Corpse." But he begins to question it. There's a Girl. They run from the do(o)med city they call home, (which looks like the Playboy Mansion as designed by the people who built the Contemporary Resort at DisneyWorld, with a little bit of the King of Prussia Mall thrown in for good measure), and encounter a strange, emotionless creature who befuddles them with its icy logic and detached, inhuman reasoning...Farrah Fawcett-Majors. Later, they meet a robot. It's also cold and detached, and resembles the robot from Lost in Space, except instead of saying, "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson," it says a bunch of stuff I couldn't understand. I didn't have the subtitles on. My bad.

Anyway, they get out of the city and find the ruins of the Statue of Liberty. No, wait -- wrong movie. It wasn't the Statue of Liberty. It was another recognizable American icon, though: Peter Ustinov. He's Old. I think that's actually his name in the movie, Old. He talks to his cats. Most of the cats turn in better, more believable performances than Farrah Fawcett-Majors, all except the grey calico in the scene where they all decide to return to Epcot the do(o)med city.

This movie desperately needed a bad guy, a Darth Vader. Instead, there was only Peter Ustinov and his cats, and Farrah Fawcett-Majors, none of whom were particularly evil, except the orange tabby in the scene where they tell Old they're hitting the road in the morning. There was some hint that everything was some sort of nefarious plot by an (apparently evil) ultimate supercomputer, but HAL-9000 could've whipped it with one floppy drive tied behind its back, and gotten it to paint Aunt Polly's fence in the bargain.

Here's a question. If, as the beginning titles tell us, all of mankind in the year 22-whatever-whatever has to live under a dome because the planet has been destroyed by war, disease, pestilence, famine and poverty (but mostly pestilence), and they have to strictly control births and deaths to achieve true Zero Population Growth in order to preserve scarce resources, sure, it means Al Gore was right, as usual, BUT, when -- SPOILER ALERT! -- Logan frees their minds, man, and shows them Life on the Outside, shouldn't they immediately grab him by his golden locks and shove his pouty face into the depths of the conveniently-located water park? I'm just sayin', is all. Instead, director Michael Anderson (who??) gives us a cheesy zoom-in closeup, panning from Peter Ustinov to the Happy Couple giving him, I kid you not, a big thumps up while the newly-liberated citizens of Domesville party like it's Space 1999. Cue orchestra, big cheesy stringy violin thingies, roll "credits."

So, the inevitable remake. Actually, according to imdb, there's already one in the works. Let's see -- Scarlett Johansson as Jenny, or whatever her name was. The only thing is, wasn't she already in The Island, which was apparently a rip-off of tribute to the original Logan's Run? This movie needs someone cheesier anyway. How about Lindsay Lohan? For Logan, I'm thinking Ashton Kutcher. He wouldn't even need to change his hair. And in the Farrah Fawcett-Majors role, a robot. Or an animatronic Barbie doll.


D.B. Echo said...

Three weeks late, but...

I liked Logan's Run! The blinking crystal hand age thing is cool, and totally classic, and a great...err, not really a metaphor, ummm...commentary on a society obsessed with youth. What better way of dealing with the problems of aging than blowing people up on their 30th birthday?

The Sandmen were pretty neat. When I was a kid I had a shirt that I thought made me look like a Sandman. (I was probably the only one who knew this, fortunately.) And I liked the guns. No zap, no pow, just a little flare to the sides and whatever you were aiming at died or exploded.

Then there was the Circuit - a sort of with instant access. And The New You - plastic surgery in a mall! How long until we see that for real?

The fact that Sanctuary turned out to be a place where you would be put in deep freeze and guarded (and loved) by a deranged robot was also pretty cool. Even now, whenever something falls down with a crash, I will sometimes cry out in a fake British accent "My BIRDS!"

Richard Jordan, by the way, played Duncan Idaho in David Lynch's Dune, and then died. He was living with Marcia Cross (currently of Desperate Housewives) at the time.

The Domed City was actually a newly-built shopping mall in, I think, Texas, which has also, I think, since been torn down. Sic transit gloria mundi, or something like that.

The ending wasn't as cool as the similarly-themed THX-1138, which generally sucked, but is the only movie I know of where hot pursuit is called off due to going over budget!

The Island, by the way, was actually a remake of "Parts! The Clonus Horror". Or so I've read.

Finally, this movie is pure Shakespeare compared to another great Sci-Fi epic from just a few years before: the immortal, incomprehensible ZARDOZ!

D.B. Echo said... come my comment isn't showing up on the main post? I can see it from here...

My Word Verification word is iubpus, which is really something you should have taken care of by a doctor.